Voorhees finally sells old municipal building after nearly seven years

Moreland Development, LLC purchased the property for $2.2 million with intentions to open a Royal Farms gas station and convenience store.

At its latest meeting, Voorhees Township Committee sold the old municipal building located at 620 Haddonfield-Berlin Road.

After nearly seven years of trying to sell the property, the township sold it to Moreland Development, LLC for $2.2 million last week. Construction is set to start next month with a tentative opening scheduled for the end of the year. The sight will feature a Royal Farms gasoline fueling station and convenience store.

Township administrator Larry Spellman says Voorhees has been negotiating with the privately owned chain over the past year. Due to various issues, the final sale was delayed.

“We were going through all the logistics of selling,” Spellman said. “It just took time.”

A major concern was the property’s decades-old zoning, which caused two, four-foot gaps right down the middle of the land. Since two lot lines were off, the township was forced to redo deeds to incorporate the unassigned grounds.

Since the location is the sight of a 120-foot cell tower owned by township, this was also considered in negotiations Spellman says annual revenue from the tower, which is part of an emergency management system, is about $100,000. The township’s ownership of the tower will not be affected by the sale.

The property’s proximity to the Voorhees Township Police Department presented parking issues as well. In redrawing the lot, a large triangle will be carved out that will be strictly designated for police parking spots.

Access to county roads, particularly Haddonfield-Berlin Road, was also factored into the final selling. The property sale will also encompass Kerper Lane — a tiny access easement owned by the township. This grants Royal Farms the ability to alter the road, like making it larger to possibly satisfy large tractor-trailer trucks.

“It gives them the ability to use that back road if they ever decide they need it,” Spellman said.

Spellman says the $2.2 million will go toward paying off the municipality’s relocation to the Town Center in May 2011, which cost about $5.5 millon. The township is paying that figure through a 20-year bond. The money from the sale of the old property will go into the capital account to pay back the finances.

“When we moved into this building here, we always said those funds would pay the debt for this,” Spellman said.

As reported by The Voorhees Sun in the months leading up to the township’s relocation to the Town Center, administrative officials and employees expressed their concerns about the safety and condition of the former building on Haddonfield-Berlin Road.

After a rainstorm in 2011, one of the women’s bathrooms in the trailer on site had to be condemned.

Over a year-and-a-half period leading up to 2011, there were two major injuries at the municipal building due to poor working conditions. One came after an employee was walking down a wooden ramp that led to the office of vital statistics during a snowstorm, as reported by The Sun.

Also, per The Sun’s reporting, at the time, officials said it would cost more to renovate the old building than to simply relocate to the Town Center.

Despite the saga leading up to the sale, Spellman says the township is looking forward to welcoming Royal Farms to the Voorhees business community.

“They are a very progressive company and a quality company,” Spellman said. “We’re happy to have them in town.”